Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 19, 2014

Meet an Aussie Author: Malla Nunn

Malla-Nunn.jpgMalla Nunn is the author of A Beautiful Place to Die and when she made contact after I reviewed her novel, I wasted no time in asking her if she would be willing to be featured on Meet an Aussie Author.

Malla was born in Swaziland, a sovereign state almost completely encircled by South Africa, but now she’s an Aussie. Her family moved to Perth in the 1970s where she went to school and university.   After further study in the US, where she worked in film, she returned to Australian and now lives in Sydney with her American-born husband and children.  She’s made three award-winning films: Fade to White, Sweetbreeze, and Servant of the Ancestors, and her debut novel in the Emmanual Cooper series was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Macavity Awards for Best First Mystery Novel while Blessed are the Dead (No 3 in the series) was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original.

If (like me) you want to read the Emmanuel Cooper series in order, here they are:

Malla is busy writing her next book but fortunately for us she found time to answer my questions for Meet an Aussie Author – thanks, Malla!


Malla’s writing space – I wish mine was as tidy as that!

1. I was born a poor brown child in colonial Swaziland.

2.When I was a child I wrote out bible verses and memorised them to earn prizes.

3. The person who encouraged me to write was my mother who loved to read and thought books were magic.

4. I write in the kitchen after the breakfast dishes are cleared.

5. I write when the kids have gone to school and the house is quiet.

6. Research is best done by someone else!

7. I keep my published works in the garage & some inside to inspire me to keep writing.

8. On the day my first book was published I sat on the back stairs and took a moment to thank the universe for my amazing luck.

9. At the moment I’m writing a Young Adult adventure with a kick-ass girl who saves the world.

10. When I’m stuck for an idea I go for a walk, eat or watch a movie.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you will know that I very rarely read crime fiction, but trust me, if A Beautiful Place to Die is anything to go by, these are not your usual run-of-the-mill crime novels!

A Beautiful Place to Die Let the Dead Lie Blessed Are the Dead Silent Valley Present Darkness


  1. Your post has inspired me. I have just borrowed A Beautiful Place to die as an audiobook from the library. I’m not into crime but I don’t mind reading really good crime from time to time.


  2. It’s been on my Audible wish list since your review. More determined tog get to it now! :-)


    • You will love it. Guaranteed!


  3. I found this author via your blog and read her book A Beautiful Place to Die, last week. It was so unique, brave too in the issues described that I thought it must be her only work. (I usually send detective stories straight to the charity shop but not this, I’m loaning it to as many friends as I can) Now you’ve told of others and I promise they’re all on order. This is a marvellous writer exposing life in South Africa in a new way, I really wonder at insight and knowledge, thank you.


    • That’s wonderful, Carol, thank you so much for this feedback, it makes what I do on this blog worthwhile – and I bet that Malla is thrilled to read it too!


      • Dear Lisa
        I was so shocked (yes!) to be thanked that I couldn’t respond until just now. It’s MY place to thank you for drawing my, and others, attention to this wonderful writer. Truly I cannot thank you enough. Malla Nunn is unique. And I love to read your blog. I’m a retired teacher so share many of your underlying concerns.


        • I wish you could see my wide smile! Where are you, Carol? Anywhere near my part of the world?


          • I live in NW London UK but have visited Australia (& NZ) several times, (next early February to end of March). I’ve commented here a few times, perhaps notably re Peter Temple who we disagreed upon. I began reading him with a very recent work that I rated as more than just a detective novel, however when I read more of his I found the darkness far too much, have set him aside now despite being a completist. I also appreciate Robert Drewe, Tim Winton and Peter Goldsworthy – among other Australians. I’m intending to concentrate on Tasmanian authors from mid-November in hopes of a visit there during February.
            And I dared to invite you to visit!!


            • Well, I will be in London in the middle of next year and am meeting up with Stu from Winston’s Dad and Kim from Reading Matters, so when we have got a firm date I will let you know and maybe we can meet up then.


  4. PS & Elizabeth Jolley & Patrick White but so very many more I haven’t read yet – your list so useful here.


  5. […] featured Malla Nunn in Meet an Aussie Author back in 2014, and I believe she has another novel in the […]


  6. […] featured Malla Nunn in Meet an Aussie Author a while ago, now, and she has since published some notable YA novels.  You can find out more about […]


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